Our pastor poured the message from his heart.
"You will suffer this year. In some form or fashion, suffering will visit your household. Everyone of you will know it."
We squirmed in our chairs.
James 1:13, "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing Psalms."
Prayer . . . I have been ankle-deep this last year. I have felt my spiritual life wane and weaken.
I had decided that it will get better. I am going to read ten spiritual classics in 2015. I haven't chosen all of them yet, but I am starting with:
The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer
12 Sermons on the Holy Spirit by C.H. Spurgeon
Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
Humility, True Greatness by C.J. Mahaney
Prayer by Timothy Keller
I have also decided to memorize scripture, 24 scriptures in 12 months.
I had these goals before the first Sunday message of the year. Before the exhortation to make James 1:13 a priority.
"Prayer . . . the goal. The most important goal. Make it number one. The only goal.You might not keep other goals. Grow in prayer." (paraphrase mine)
I don't know if I will lose a few pounds. I don't know if my exercise plan will hold. Perhaps I will get through all ten of the deep spiritual reads and a few other books on my list. My memory may swell with the Word of God. I hope, I hope, I hope!
But if all promises to self fail . . . I hope to spend more time in my prayer closet . . . more than ever before. I want to know the Lord better. I want to draw nearer and nearer. I want to hear Him clearly.
There might be suffering in my year. There might be cheer . . . whatever my lot please let me pray through . . .
ankle-deep to deepest deep . . .
amen, let it be, Lord.